Monday, August 22, 2011

Mouse Crap (Or: My Vendetta Against Disney)

Part of becoming a parent is that your life ends up delving into areas that you didn't even realize existed when you were living unencumbered just a few years previously. One example of this is the personal hell I go through several times a day when attempting to change my two-year-old's pull-up diapers (one that's above-and-beyond the hell of, y'know, having to change diapers). This is a hell that I lay squarely at the doorstep of the Disney company. Allow me to elucidate.

At some point in the not-too-distant past, Disney struck a deal with the Huggies company allowing for every diaper product the latter put out to have some character or characters from the former adorning them. By itself, no biggie, right? What's the harm? Well, here it is: It's not enough that these diapers have Disney characters on them. No, they have a variety of Disney characters on them, depending on whichever new big screen confection the Mouse House happens to be pitching at that moment.

So any given batch of diapers will carry three or four different designs, thus introducing an element of choice where there never was before. Suddenly, my two-year-old has options about about which sack he's going to crap into in about an hour. "Not the Lightning McQueen diaper, want the Buzz Lightyear diaper!" And God forbid the design he wants has run out, because then the fun really starts, with the fifteen minutes of arguing and screaming and gnashing and wailing that ensues the undisputed highlight(s) of my day.

He's not old enough to go to the bathroom by himself, yet he's still old enough to verbalize his precise diapering preferences. Thanks, Disney! Naturally, with this wellspring of lived experience to fall back on, when I read the premise of The Mouse That Roared, the new book by Henry Giroux and Grace Pollock, about how Disney practices a hegemony that ensures lockstep devotion to their brand(s) from as early as three months, I just had to nod my head in between soft, racking sobs. I always knew they'd come for my kids...I just never thought they'd hit them where they poop.

1 comment:

Lisa G. said...

Damn, thanks for the heads-up. If I ever have kids, I'll be shopping the generic aisle for diapers. By the way, you would probably like the book Consumed: How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole by Benjamin Barber. It offers lots of food for thought, although he'd probably be preaching to the choir.